Dave’s Soapbox

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Insects are a symptom of a condition. If you offer them the ideal temperature, food, and harborage they will thrive, many times reproducing hundreds of offspring in four to six weeks. If you take one of those conditions away, you may still have insect pests but they may not thrive. If you take all of these ideal conditions away they will die or go away. That is pest management in its purest sense.

We as humans often have a hard time imagining what an ideal condition is for an 1/8-in. beetle or 1/4-in. moth that has evolved differently than we humans. But in fact it is somewhat the same: sex, food, harborage, and moderate temperatures.

The food source can be as little as a dusty surface, where flour beetles graze like cattle on grass, or spoiled food trapped in a drainage pipe, where fruit flies are reproducing at a rate of hundreds a week.

Temperature is the one factor that can accelerate insect growth and development. For every 10 degrees Celsius you get a doubling of respiration and activity. So from 10° C (50° F) to 18° C (64° F) to 30° C (86° F) to 35° C (95° F) you get a 16-fold increase in insect activity. Like insects, humans become stressed in hot weather. Place an insect in your hand for a few minutes. Watch it increase in activity as it warms. This stressed activity can help the pest manager increase mortality faster with less insecticide or fumigants.

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Harborage: insects can live outside and inside. Native populations of Indian meal moths are an example of how this Public Enemy #1 can contaminate a grain bin, a food or seed warehouse with the doors open while loading trucks, or your garage and infest stored bird seed or pet food. If you want to find out if you have outdoor pest insects, place a pheromone trap in a tree or fence line and check it for yourself.

As you perform your job of lowering customer complaints, start looking at things differently. For example, what if you check a pheromone trap and it is empty. What does that mean? Are there no pest insects in this area? Or does it mean that the insects that the pheromone trap is targeting flying moths or moths that are present but not flying yet.

At about 18° C (about 64° F) the temperature in the warehouse or storage bin is less than 64° F.

Pest managers create dozens of small oases under outdoor rodent bait stations and can’t see them. Moisture and organic debris seep under these bait stations and attract a multitude of miscellaneous insects and arthropods. Look under a bait station and see for yourself. These oases can be eliminated by simply moving the traps 1 foot away from the environment under which they are thriving. This is especially true in the hot summer months when moisture is scarce.

Poor Recordkeeping: So often I see that a technician has written a check on a pheromone trap that states: 0-4, 5-9 or 10 or more. Really! I was in a multi-million-dollar court case where this type of poor record keeping was used. The warehouse was said to be 68° F in Texas (year around). The pheromone traps were capturing beetles. In some areas 10 or more per week per trap. During the court proceedings I ask the question: What does 10 or more mean? They could not provide an answer. Was it 11 or was it a 1000! They lost the case. It is what you don’t see that is what is important. I recommend removing the captured insects every week and don’t write on the trap anything except the date the pheromone lures were placed. Period!

Finally, practice this when you drive your car down the highway. When the temperatures are above 65–70° F insects hit the windshield. When it is lower, they are not flying. So when you hit a ‘bug’ on your windshield, think pest management and how the insects are becoming active in your facilities and homes.

One of my favorite days of the year is when I see my first insect hitting the windshield. I shout for joy because the cycle begins again!!

 

The All Beetle Trap

By Alain VanRyckeghem, BCE Technical Director

For many years, Insects Limited has sold beetle traps from several different manufacturers and has sold its own Pantry Patrol and PC Floor trap alongside them. By working with these traps we have seen a variety of good and bad trap characteristics available in a wide price range. Recently we decided to take the better trap characteristics, eliminate the bad and create a newly designed trap. After two years of design and prototype testing, the All Beetle Trap™ is ready for sale. This pheromone lure contains beetle pheromones for Red flour beetle and Confused flour beetle (Tribolium spp), Cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricorne), Warehouse beetle (Trogoderma spp.), Rice weevil (Sitophilus spp), and will attract over 20 species of stored product beetles.

New All Beetle Trap

What makes this trap unique and better? We want to cater to the service technician; it has to be easier to open, close, and inspect. To this point we have a clear top trap that eliminates the need to open every trap to ‘count zeros’. The low profile and rectangular shape allows the All Beetle Trap to be placed tightly into corners and slip under equipment that most other traps cannot access. The sides of the trap are shallow and multitextured to allow all beetle types to crawl into the pitfall design. The pit of the trap is easily removable, but has a ‘snap-fit’ that will not slip off accidentally.

The entire trap is made with polypropylene which is durable and washable if needed. It is sturdy and will not crush under the weight of a person. The pit of the trap can be used with Insects Limited’s highly effective Pantry Patrol gel packets or be fitted with a custom glue board. The choice of using a glue board allows the technician to use a variety of baits or lures for specific or groups of beetles. It also can be used without glue boards to live capture beetles that produce natural pheromone. This method has proven to be effective in a food storage warehouse environment.

The All Beetle Trap will be used primarily for stored food beetles such as Saw-toothed grain beetle, Flour beetles as well as Warehouse beetle, Cigarette beetle and Grain weevils. The new trap will also be incorporated into the Hide beetle trap kit and Carpet beetle trap kit, rather than the flat paper glue board traps presently available. This trap can accommodate other baits to trap and monitor for red-legged ham beetles (Necrobia) or even cockroaches. Future research will determine if this trap works on bed bugs.

This affordable and field proven new pheromone trap is available from Insects Limited (1.800.992.1991/insectslimited.com) or its distributors. Product code: IL 2700-10, 10 traps and pheromone lures per box.

Brownies with Bugs

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As part of the Girl Scout Brownies program, Troop 821 from Westfield, Indiana spent an afternoon with Insects Limited Entomologist Pat Kelley to earn their “Bug Badges.” The badges show that they have accomplished a journey in research and discussion on the topic of insects. The girls learned about the benefits and detriments of insects on our lives. Part of the program named “Good Bugs, Bad Bugs and … Big Bugs” included interaction of the Brownies with live tarantulas and giant millipedes. Troop leader Tamrynne Eblen stated that the girls loved the presentation and had a blast participating. We at Insects Limited are happy to play a small part in educating these future entomologists!

Insects Limited Presents Scientific Study on Clothes Moths at the Louvre Museum in Paris

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On September 13 – 15, 2016, the 3rd International Conference in Museums, Archives, Libraries and Historic Buildings – IPM 2016, was held in the auditorium of the prestigious Louvre Museum in Paris. This scientific meeting gathered scientists and museum specialists from 18 countries to present the most recent research on tools and methods to preserve the world’s cultural heritage. As part of this program, Patrick Kelley of Insects Limited presented the results of a detailed study on clothes moth pheromone use in textile collections. The study was a collaboration of Kelley, Laura Mina of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and James Feston of Insects Limited.

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Kelley, Feston and Dr. Pascal Querner of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences of Vienna, Austria also collaborated on a scientific poster displayed at the conference that studied the attraction of food and frass compounds to adult Drugstore Beetle, a damaging museum pest.

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Kelley stated, “The venue of the Louvre Museum was a perfect place to discuss how we can protect museum objects that are cherished worldwide. The exchange and sharing of information between scientists, museum specialists and global participants at this international conference will truly help save many cultural heritage objects from being destroyed by pests and other means of deterioration. Insects Limited prides itself on being a global leader in pest management issues of all types.”

Bad Bugs: Indian Meal Moth

by Alain VanRyckeghem, BCE Technical Director

What is the most critical damage caused by Indian meal moths – individually or as a whole?

Indian meal moths (IMM) either directly consume the stored food product, (bird seed, pet foods, candy bars etc.) and contaminate it with their presence, webbing, and waist products, or they indirectly contaminate product (food and nonfood) in storage from wandering larvae in search of pupation sites. One infested package of product can be a source of larvae that search out other food products to continue feeding or usually to pupate on the surface or interior spaces of the packages. Perfectly sealed packages that contain baby formula, for example, may have no infestation, but the presence of larvae on the container will cause consumer complaints and rejection of the product. This is essentially collateral damage from another food product.

Why is monitoring for IMM crucial, and what is the best way to monitor?

Monitoring for IMM is designed to be an early warning system. Detection of a couple of moths early in the season can help prevent or reduce further outbreaks during the summer and fall. Traps with sex pheromones to attract male moths are a tool that can operate 24 hours 7 days a week and can be placed in any environment. Placement can be in a grid system to detect recent invasions or can be targeted (concentrated) to monitor selected storage areas or help pinpoint the infestation.

Moth traps need to be monitored weekly, due to the trap’s short life cycle. The objective is to detect sudden rises in catch rates indicating a recent introduction of infested product or a sanitation issue that has been overlooked. Lure and traps are to be replaced according to manufacturer’s recommendation which is usually 8 weeks. All traps and lures should be replaced at the same time. Do not stagger the replacement schedule as this leads to old lures stationed beside new lures, resulting in misinterpretation of the source infestations.

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What are the steps that should be taken if IMM are detected?

If IMM are detected, inspection of product near the monitors with most activity is necessary. Flashlight inspections to find active larvae, webbing, and food spills are the primary goals of the inspection. Detection of insect activity will require movement and segregation of the product for further action. This may include cleaning, disassembly, fumigation or disposal. Pallets with insect activity should be covered with a PE pallet cover before moving to reduce accidental dispersal to uninfested areas. Sanitation issues should be cleaned up and discarded outdoors in an approved dumpster system. Continue monitoring traps at the area of original activity and adjacent traps. Further activity will require repeated inspections.

How can IMM moth infestations be prevented?

The first line of defense to prevent infestation of a facility is to stop infested materials from being accepted at the receiving areas. This requires receivers to be aware of the presence of webbing on boxes or bags, live and dead larvae in the stretch wrap, and live moths flying out of the trailer or off a pallet. These are clear signs of activity and should not be ignored. Detailed inspection can locate these products with activity and should be rejected. The potential use of a pheromone trap in the trailer placed by the vendor at the time of shipment can also give an early warning to the receiver if this trailer has moth activity.

Is there anything else I should be aware of about IMM activity?

Indian meal moths are temperature dependent. Moth flight and reproduction usually does not occur when the environment is below 64 °F. The absence of Indian meal moths in pheromone traps in cool warehouses or cold trailers during shipment is not a fool proof way of determining if moths are present or if larvae are actively feeding on stored product in storage. At these times, a proactive inspection program by the PMP or in house sanitarian is recommended.